August 18, 2017

Review: 41315 Heartlake Surf Shop

Surf’s up! Let’s head on over to Heartlake City’s newest outlet for aquatic adventure…

This set was provided by the Operations & Community Engagement of The LEGO Group for the purpose of sharing set details with fans. Opinions provided here solely reflect those of our reviewer. Photographs are property of Friends Bricks and are not directed by TLG in any fashion.

2017’s mid-year releases have included a number of beach-themed sets. Emma and Andrea are partying by the shore [41316] while Stephanie and Olivia are sailing a catamaran [41317]. This leaves Mia on her own at the Heartlake Surf Shop. So, what is she up to? The lack of a second figure leads me to wonder if she may be working here, managing rentals and sales. But, perhaps she’s just stopping in for necessities, doing honor-system shopping by leaving her “100” bill on the counter. It’s all up to our imagination… 

I received this set fresh from Denmark, in European packaging. Your box might look slightly different if you shop somewhere else, like North America. The ribbon branding along the top is of the standard type, so we know this is not a special sub-theme. The front scene, with shiny buildings in the background, tells us that we are on the shore in Heartlake City. We also get a glimpse of Andrea’s new speedboat, on the road. Twice on the box (front and side) we are told that the “Kayak does not float.” It surely does not, with holes in its bottom! 

Two views of the surf shop are shown here: a large exterior shot and a smaller inside view. What caught my attention immediately was the large wave atop the roof. This special signage is fun and reminds me of some whimsical original creations I’ve seen from young people in the official LEGO galleries. It’s classically “Friends” and makes the set memorable. The main scene foreground highlights a new animal friend and sporty Mia looks ready for outdoor activity.

At this point, I feel obligated to mention the LEGO Town Surf Shack [6595] of 1993. It really can’t compare here in any way, but I did love it for showing me how to build a cool hang glider (alternate model on box). 

Scenes on the box back show Mia presumably doing self-checkout at the store, waxing a board, showering, surfing, and taking pictures. Diagrams illustrate mini-doll construction and indicate that this is a 2-bag build.

Fine print on the sides inform us that components were made in Denmark, Hungary, Mexico, China and the Czech Republic. We also get an accurate 1:1 mini-doll representation and a reminder that small part are not for tiny kiddos!

Time to open the box...

How do you open your boxes? I will confess that I never use those thumb perforation thingies. Being a true crazy-collector-gal, I will flatten and store this with my other boxes. So I’ll want all those lovely graphics to remain unharmed. Thus, I open it like a pizza box. 

Inside, we have two bags of parts, a stapled 76-page instruction booklet, a sticker sheet, an 8x16 lavender plate, and a boat. This sea kayak element is new this year. A red version has been in a few City sets, but the dark purple one is Friends-only! Here’s a closer look at the underside, and the stickers:

The instruction booklet can be downloaded from LEGO customer service here, if you’d like to take a peek. It follows the typical format with the building instructions being followed by a parts list and some promotions for other sets and online activities.

Let’s take a look at what’s inside Bag 1…

This summer’s new “wave” of sets has brought some fresh large plates in medium azure. The 4x8 half-round plate has also showed up in Andrea’s Speedboat Transporter [41316] and the Snow Resort Chalet [41323], while the 6x10 plate appears to be unique to this set.

Also special for this set is our animal friend, a seal named Velvet. This element was previously available in brown in two sets; the Heartlake Lighthouse [41094] and in a small pack from the pets series [41047] ; but here Velvet’s coat is a lovely new sand-blue color. Her printed face looks slightly updated as well. I might actually call this an entirely new animal because the brown version was likely meant to be a sea lion. If you’d like to know more about the difference between the two critters, you can read NOAA’s info sheet here. Animal-lover Mia would surely know her pinnipeds! 

Lime green is a new color for this camera. It’s also in two other mid-2017 Friends sets: the Sunshine Catamaran and the Snow Resort Chalet.

The paddle heads are a new part for 2017 and also appear in City sets. The life-vests came out last year, but appear in many Friends sets right now. I really appreciate how they’ve been sculpted especially for the mini-dolls.

Mia’s torso and legs are brand new printings. Together, they give the impression of a wetsuit, yet the legs are generic enough to use frequently in other outfits. Her torso has a zipper on the back. I like the way the dark blue color continues up the neck. Surfers often wear such garments to keep them warm, protect from scrapes, and provide extra buoyancy. Mia looks ready to hit the waves!

The building instructions are simple and easy to follow. When assembling the buoys, I was disappointed that the pink flags slid so easily down the rods. Instead of remaining firmly in place on their shafts, they were practically falling down! This is not normally an issue and I can’t imagine what’s causing the flag to lose friction. It’s not the rods. Comparing with older flags confirmed that this is a recent development – I hope this is not a trend! This element has already been made looser in the past (when the wave changed direction) and I felt it was at a good level of snug-ness.

Modification note: When building the lounge chair, I’d hoped it might rotate on a turntable, as the ones do on the Sunshine Catamaran. Alas, it does not. However, after finishing the set, I was able to swap the bottom 2x2 white plate with a gray one inside the shop that has a single stud on 2x2 tile. Then, I could set my chair on an angle, for Mia’s perfect view or tanning exposure.

Finishing up with our first bag of parts, we’ve built plenty to play with. In fact, this would be a great little set, in itself. Colorful surf boards are stacked on a frame along with some wax in a clear bin. After lounging in the sun for a bit, Mia can prep a board and head out for a surf. Or, she can paddle away from shore in the kayak, in search of wildlife photography subjects. 

Because her wrists are unable to turn, Mia’s paddle has an added extension that allows her to hold it in a proper position. It’s convenient that her kayak’s rear hatch has a stud on top… just in case she needs to give someone a ride! 

The little wave elements are cute. I enjoyed moving those around. It would be fun to build some larger ones later. Incidentally, while you might get the impression from BrickSet’s database that those medium azure 2x4 low curved slopes are new, that part has actually been around for years and has just gotten a new LEGO ID number. Looking super closely at the old vs. new reveals barely detectable alterations, such as a new injection point for the mold; nothing significant.

I love Mia’s camera being mounted up front. I’m imagining it’s a waterproof GoPro, ready to document her trips. In fact, I was tempted to make a quick stop-motion video from that perspective, maybe paddling around the buoys? – but I’ll leave that for you to try!

On to bag 2!

Those dark blue arches stand out for me, as these are typically found in Elves sets. The clear curved wall and large window are wonderful to have and I see some fun things, like a printed cash register and swimming flippers. The Heartlake City postcard has returned, making me wonder how many people in Heartlake City still write postcards now that social media is so popular. …Maybe I’ll just call this a bumper sticker instead.

Instructions have us now building the shop on the shore. Considering the direction of the waves and the line of the beach, I’m a little confused on the orientation of the building. But maybe I’m over-thinking it. 

When I reached a point in the build to create a sunglasses spinner, I was reminded of Emma’s Tourist Kiosk [41098] from 2015. Taking a look back at that set, I see that her spinner used the same basic construction. Emma also had roller skates and postcards. 

You can count on me to find some minor oddity in building instructions, and this time I noticed that the sunglass spinner seems to turn under its own power in the background during the instruction steps. Pages 65 and 67 show it a little differently, as do pages 69 and 70.

Jumping ahead through the build, our complete shop interior looks like this:

There's a nice assortment of things to buy, including sunscreen and a beach bag. A white rod that pokes out of a display isn’t explained without studying the box art or guessing. I believe it’s meant to hold a life-jacket for sale. It’s not pictured there however because it’s on Mia, as per instructions. But you could always use your spare here. Speaking of spares… These are our spare parts:

Play-wise, I like that Mia can pop back into the store for more fun things to do. She can switch to writing a postcard, sipping from a new water bottle, swimming with flippers, roller skating, or whatever.

Regarding the store’s architecture, I’m going to be picky here… I’ve come to expect a high level of solid style from Friends buildings, and this one looks a bit rushed/unfinished to me – particularly along the roofline on the inside. I know this is a lower piece-count set, but… This side looks surprisingly plain.

I actually felt compelled to re-design the building and interior using the given parts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (working with the bricks can give builders a nice sense of ownership), but I do feel disappointed when the official three-dimensional model seems designed with only two views (front and back) in mind. Here’s my quick re-design. It’s not great, but I had fun. I’m sure the shop could be re-built many excellent ways. The parts assortment is pretty versatile and supplementing it with your own collection would open up even more possibilities.

Someday, I’d love to modify the wave on the roof too. It looks a bit chunky to me. Not that it’s easy to craft a fabulous wave shape with only seven pieces! But I’d love to see if it could be done better.

Overall, this is a fun set with excellent pretend-play value for the price, and it complements the other new beach sets nicely. Although I would have appreciated an extra mini-doll, those parts are the most expensive, so I’m fine with just brining in a character from my stash. Now, to decide who might work at my surf shop. Hmm… Noah? Oliver? Or, maybe someone new…

Note: All exclusive parts mentioned in the colours noted were applicable at the time this review was posted. Parts may be available in other colours and sets after the post of this review. Brickset and BrickLink were used to verify this information.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review! I might try making a similar modification to you when I get my hands on the set! I love Mia's new outfit! Some great details. It's not the best friends shop, but I think it's pretty good, especially for the piece count. Ciao for now! ~ themime

Xyra Silverleaf said...

I like this one, especially the seal. :)

Animalland9 said...

Really useful! I was looking for reviews as I am deciding between some sets so thanks! -Animalland9

Anonymous said...

Liked your review and eye for details. I was reminded of the Tourist Kiosk too.. Thank you - WD

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